FBI, abduction experts join hunt for 6-year-old Bremerton girl
The search for a missing 6-year-old Kitsap County girl swelled on Tuesday with the arrival of child-abduction specialists from the FBI and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Most missing children would have turned up by now, says a sheriff’s spokesman.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The search for a missing East Bremerton 6-year-old swelled Tuesday with the arrival of child-abduction experts from the FBI and members of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children Task Force who joined local investigators.
Scott Wilson, a spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, said there were more than 112 law-enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies involved in the search for Jenise Wright.
Jenise was last seen on Saturday night but was not reported missing until Sunday night, police said.
On Tuesday, Wilson said, “Our focus today is on deep canvassing.”
In addition to interviewing all registered sex offenders in the area, officers fanned out to speak with every resident of the 103-site mobile-home park where the girl’s family lives and to search “every building, vehicle and Dumpster,” Wilson said.
Wilson said residents had been willingly consenting to the searches, but police were also prepared to seek search warrants if necessary. By Tuesday evening, half of those living at the mobile community had been interviewed.
He said the level of cooperation and concern at the mobile-home park has been high.
“She was so friendly with everyone that the feeling has been, ‘She is one of ours,’ a daughter of the park,” Wilson said.
Jenise was last seen at about 10 p.m. Saturday, when she went to bed in her home in the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park east of Bremerton in unincorporated Kitsap County.
Her parents told sheriff’s deputies they had noticed she was gone on Sunday morning but were not initially alarmed because Jenise often left the house to wander the neighborhood and find playmates, Wilson said.
He said the girl’s family told deputies they felt it was relatively safe because the mobile-home park is in a fenced property, Wilson said
The 3-foot-tall, dark-haired girl who is to enter the first grade in September was well-known by neighbors, who described her to reporters as a social child who played and chatted with everyone.
When she failed to appear by 8:30 p.m. Sunday, her parents began going door-to-door in the neighborhood looking for her, according to Wilson.
An hour and a half later, they called 911, he said.
Scores of searchers worked through the night and all day Monday looking for the girl, Wilson said.
By the end of Tuesday, grid searches had been conducted around the mobile-home park and the nearby creek and culvert had been checked. In addition, transients in the area were located and interviewed, he said.
“We have a lot of agencies, personnel and volunteers employed to find this child and we are doing everything within our realm of possibility to make this happen,” Wilson said.”
On Wednesday, Wilson said, an evidence-recovery team from the FBI will search the home again.
He said Jenise’s disappearance is being called a missing-person case with “suspicious circumstances” because most missing children would have surfaced within a day or two. Investigators are looking at a variety of possibilities and trying to eliminate them, he said.
“We don’t know what happened. Did she fall into a culvert? Is she hurt? Did she walk away? Did she walk away and get abducted?”
He said the girl’s parents, Denise and James Wright, allowed investigators with the Washington State Patrol to search their home on Monday and also agreed to undergo polygraph tests Monday night.
Wilson said he could not discuss the results of the polygraph tests or comment on evidence submitted to the state crime lab.
Wilson said the Wrights have a blended family with a total of six children. Two are adults and are not living in the home.
The four younger children, aged 6 to 16, generally share one bedroom in the small home, Wilson said. However, the 16-year-old, a boy, was not in the county over the weekend.
The other two, a 12-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, were removed from the home and turned over to Child Protective Services on Monday morning, he said.
He said he could not disclose the reason for the children’s removal other than to say that the child-welfare agency has had previous contact with the family.
Wilson asked anyone with any possible information on Jenise’s whereabouts to call 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5321.)
Christine Clarridge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-8983. Seattle Times news researcher Gene Balk contributed to this story, which includes information from The Associated Press.